Black Christmas Glen Morgan

Black Christmas is a completely revamped take on the 1974 original, so let’s forget for a moment that it is a remake. As a modern day concept it’s good for B-level horror; it exploits the ubiquity of cell phones, assembles an impressive cast of familiar female faces (Buffy’s Michelle Trachtenberg, Final Destination 3’s Mary Elizabeth Winstead and comedian Andrea Martin, who played a young sorority girl in the original), employs ample gore and extremely creative violence and best of all, attempts every little step with unabashed garishness.

Set in a sorority house on Christmas Eve, the film features a house full of "hotties” that are sitting ducks for a murderous lunatic looking to shed blood during his return his childhood home. If we’re to acknowledge the fact that it is indeed an update of the ’70s classic proto-slasher Black Christmas, the 2006 version is unfortunately an inferior model. The funny thing is that Morgan (of Final Destination fame) has gone to all sorts of trouble trying to make it different, which why it fails.

Horror remakes are notorious for sucking but most do so by trying too hard to emulate the original by today’s standards. Morgan has taken Bob Clark’s low-budget landmark and turned it into a big joke. By cramming in a ludicrous and convoluted back-story explaining the killer’s deranged upbringing (he was locked in the attic, of course!) and motive for carnage, Morgan has stripped Roy Moore’s 1974 screenplay of its brilliantly intense atmosphere. We’re now force-fed who the killer is and it takes away any elements of surprise or fear, especially when we see he’s capable of such sick jokes as using yuletide cookie cutters to make flesh-based treats.

Additionally, the "phone call from within the house” is completely wasted, as is the freaky "whodunit?” ending, which falls into predictable slush (though a defibrillator as a defence weapon is pretty cool). The original was puzzling, creepy and filled with high tension, and you cared for these girls and wanted to know who would survive..

Here, you could care less about who gets a plastic bag over their head and stabbed with a crystal unicorn. Had this been titled something else and claimed to be loosely based on the original, Black Christmas could have passed as a silly tribute, but this is a weak effort attempting to bank on a film that has huge clout going for it in the horror genre.

(TVA)